The following is the sixth of seven position-by-position 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers NFL draft analyses:
On the roster: Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman, Baron Batch
Last six drafts: Rashard Mendenhall (2008, first round) is now gone after five years of not living up to his potential. Also gone is speedster Chris Rainey (2012, fifth round). Dwyer (2010, sixth round) and Batch (2011, seventh round) might get more opportunities this year.
Top running backs available: Eddie Lacy, Alabama; Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State; Giovani Bernard, North Carolina; Montee Ball, Wisconsin; Andre Ellington, Clemson
The Steelers might take: Lacy; Bernard; Ellington; Johnathan Franklin, UCLA; Kenjon Barner, Oregon; Christine Michael, Texas A&M
Analysis: The Steelers' biggest need in this year's draft might be a speedy running back. But the problem is that none of the year's crop of backs is considered a sure first-round pick, and the Steelers won't reach after taking Mendenhall five years ago. The Steelers might be able to get one of the top backs with their second pick and will most certainly have chosen a back by the start of the fourth round on Saturday. Many draft boards are linking the Steelers to Lacy, but he seems to be in the same mold as Dwyer and Redman. It would seem like a smaller, faster back like Bernard or Franklin would be a better fit.
On the roster: Will Johnson, David Johnson (tight end)
Last six drafts: Frank "The Tank'' Summers (2009, fifth round) was an intriguing prospect for approximately half of a training camp. David Johnson (2009, seventh round) has filled the role of blocking back pretty well for a seventh-round pick.
Top fullbacks available: Lonnie Pryor, Florida State; Zach Line, SMU
The Steelers might take: None
Analysis: The Steelers like either of the two Johnsons for when they use a fullback. David Johnson missed all of last season, and Will Johnson was a free-agent find. With so many other needs, fullback shouldn't be a priority during this year's draft.
Coming Wednesday: Receivers
- Buck Frank